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Farm Fresh Blog
Saturday, 31 July 2010
"Yee haaa!" I screamed to the cat sleeping beside my computer. She fell off the desk.
I have two sheep that need shearing! Most of my sheep are high percentage Dorper crosses that shed out in the spring, so they don't need shearing, but these two have dreadlocks so thick they look like members of the Jamaican Bobsledding Team.
So I quickly emailed this Sheep Savior and begged her to come shear my Jamaican bobsledders. She agreed, and thus the adventure began . . .
Snowdog is unimpressed and bounces over to greet her canine friends who enjoy house privileges at night. Get large garden cart and begin hauling bags of shavings from Garage Barn to Horse Barn. Fill stalls with shavings. Happy horses play in shavings.
Have Border Collie and Blue Heeler put goats in Kitchen Garden that is overgrown with weeds again. Lock gate and admire them as they immediately begin working like weed-wackers on methamphetamines. Suddenly realize that I have lost my cell phone. Oh crap! Mentally run through chores and try to figure out where it fell off my belt. Have disturbing thought that best bet is horse stalls. Have distinct mental picture of horses pawing through shavings as a Blackberry sifts deeper and deeper into the stall. Have mental picture of Big Fat Ona standing on expensive Blackberry. Have mental picture of Andalusian cross finding phone and running up bill by calling Spain or text messaging his friends in other stables.
Run to barn to save phone. Lots of shavings. Confused horses. No phone. Run back to house. Try to use house phone to call cell phone. House phone refuses to dial the number 7 so I cannot call my cell phone and listen for the ring tone. Lots of cussing. Run to my mother's house. Bang on door. Hear her dog frantically bark but no one comes to door. Consider crawling through doggy door but decide to run around front of house instead. Find mother lounging on front porch swing. Mom is happy. Mom wants to chat. Explain emergency. No time to chat. Need Mom's cell phone NOW to call my cell phone. While desperately trying to convey this information quickly, see that Someone is pulling into my driveway.
Sheep Savior has arrived. Briar has climbed out of her puppy prison and I fear that she may eat Sheep Savior or at the very least, put giant Abominable Snowdog muddy footprints on her shirt. Must leave now, but Mom still wants to chat. (retired people appreciate life in the slow lane and aren't quite as quick to recognize the emergency of strangers driving up when no one is home but loose dogs who may or may not eat people. Finally wrangle phone from mother (Sorry Mom!) and run back next door to find Sheep Savior and two small children crawling out of car. Fortunately White Mountain with Teeth has decided that she is friendly today - but still muddy. Football tackle dog and force her into outside kennel with Blue Heeler (who is NEVER friendly to strangers - today or any other day.)
Greet Sheep Savior and explain that expensive Blackberry may be in stall with horse who is currently digging to China in the shavings. She listens while I call my phone. Sheep Savior finds my phone! Phone is on ground beside Garage Barn. Phone is fine. Woo hoo! Thank her profusely and explain that I must run Mom's phone back to her house. Please don't pet dogs behind bars. Some of them bite. Sheep Savior happily agrees.
Return phone. Apologize to mother. Have Border Collie pen sheep who are now grumpy because they just LEFT the barn. Single out Jamaican Bobsledders. Rodeo. Mutton Bustin'! Ride that sheep, Cowgirl! Finally get first bobsledder strapped onto trim stand. Fire up those clippers! Wow! Return dazed bobsledder back to flock sporting a new Marine haircut. The rest of the flock admire her new doo! More Mutton Bustin' as we rodeo second bobsledder onto trim stand. In no time a new dazed bootcamp recruit joins the rest of the flock. Turn flock back out and barely recognize bobsledders. There are actual sheep under those dreadlocks!
I haven't figured out what to do with the armadillo shells of dreadlocks that pass for wool rugs.
Maybe I'll give them to the dogs for beds. On the other hand, my dogs are so uncivilized they will probably eat them, and we all know what that will happen then! (Read: Useless Factoid )
Farm Rule #23 - When dogs eat wool . . . they poop out felt!
Friday, 30 July 2010
Most of my sheep look like this:
They are Dorper crosses, hair sheep who shed, so you don't have to shear them. Woo hoo!
But I have two who look like this:
They have heavy rugs on their backs. I was hoping that most of it would shed off by now, but it hasn't. So here it is at the end of July and they are roasting. It's time to accept the fact that these two girls will HAVE to be sheared. (See! That's why I didn't want them in my breeding program!)
I've never sheared a sheep. (Being a lazy person who lives in a very hot humid climate, I quickly realized that raising sheep in parkas was not something I wanted to do.) Other Half has never sheared a sheep either. So . . . we are enlisting the help of someone who actually HAS sheared sheep. And she is coming over in 30 minutes . . . and I am still in my pajamas! Eegaads!
The sheep are already yelling, demanding to be released from their prison this morning. It's going to be a long morning for the sheep. It's probably going to be a long morning for the humans too. I can only think of one person who is going to enjoy this morning.
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
There has been some disagreement about who spoils #1 Ranch Dog . . .
thus, I give you PROOF that I am not the only one who spoils Border Collie!
I give you: State's Exhibit A:
Want more proof?
I give you State's Exhibit B:
The State rests . . .
Monday, 26 July 2010
What's not to love about this little face?
This little face is one of the many in need of a Forever Home!
See! How could anyone resist this?
Or this? (Hey! I think I have a face at home that looks just like that!)
Although we did a great deal of shopping for dog stuff at the dog show, I find it pretty easy not to shop for DOGS at a dog show. We already have enough dogs. Each of our dogs either has, or currently HAD a job.
(we do have some free-loaders enjoying retirement in the air conditioning, but I'm not gonna point fingers or anything!)
So I was pretty immune to the sea of adorable faces in need of a Forever Home, until I saw this . . .
Be still my beating heart!
Please understand, I am a product of the Lassie Generation. I LOVE these dogs. I have always wanted one of these dogs. (Just like this one!) When I bought my first Belgian Tervuren in 1990, it was a toss-up whether or not I should get a Belgian or try to find a Rough Collie with working drive. I went with the Belgians, but there is still a fondness in my heart, ney! my SOUL for the Rough Collie.
So I saw this young dog . . .
He gazed patiently while the world around him was in chaos. I almost reached out and touched him, but something stopped me . . . After all these years training dogs, I knew what stopped me. There is power in the touch. Don't touch him. Don't touch him. Don't touch him. For I knew that as soon as I touched this dog, so soon after the death of Kona . . . I knew that if I touched this dog, there might be a spark . . .
And if there was, Other Half was powerless to prevent it. (much like I was powerless to prevent him from bringing Cowboy home . . . )
A dog like this deserves to be someone's primary dog. I don't even have a job for him at my house. So I took his picture . . . I didn't touch him. But even now, looking at his picture, he touches me.
Sunday, 25 July 2010
Most of our shopping tends to be at the feed store and Tractor Suppy. When we go on vacation we stop and shop at Rancher's Supermarket places like D&D and Teskey's, but they never have a good selection of DOG stuff. A 4-Day dog show however, can provide just about anything your little Dog-Person-heart desires!
LOTS of shopping!
I won't tell Border Collie about this!
or this . . .
Other Half wanted to buy this for Oli . . .
I wanted to buy THIS for Oli . . .
He vetoed my suggestion! Can you believe that? That man simply can not think outside the box! Girlfriend would look absolutely SMASHING in this dog bed for her police truck! Other Half pointed out that the other K9 handlers would make fun of them. I informed him that he really shouldn't care what other people think! After all . . .
Would you tease a woman who can do this?
(Trust me, if I was in charge of the Company Credit Card, then Oli would be sleeping in that dog bed!)
Nevertheless, I did lots of my own shopping . . .
I bought a decal for the tailgate of my truck. (this is a pic of it BEFORE it's installed. The wrinkles will come out!) At first, I just wanted a Border Collie. Then I saw the sheep. Well duh! Gotta have the sheep. Then Other Half suggested we add the farm name. (advertising = tax deduction) Good point! Sooooo . . .
And . . . I bought Border Collie a new fancy leather collar! It wasn't until I got it home that I realized this collar matched one of my hats! Look at this!
Now I have to wear this hat more often so I can match my dog. I am such a Dork!
Saturday, 24 July 2010
Let me preface this adventure by explaining that I began showing dogs in 1984 BOH (Before Other Half). I did conformation, obedience, tracking, schutzhund, flyball, agilty, and in the late 1990's, I began Search & Rescue work. By 1999 I had quit showing entirely and focused on cadaver and mantrailing work. Now, except for the police dogs, all our dogs are either retired working dogs, or working farm dogs.
Enter Other Half - all his dogs have been either hunting dogs, police dogs, or working farm dogs. He is completely unfamiliar with Show Dogs. Last year I took him to his first dog show. It was a giant 4 day show - lots of dog sports, lots of shopping! I was in Dog Person Heaven. He was overwhelmed. One of the first things he ran into was a woman carrying a dog in a front-papoose. The dog was in baby clothes and was wearing little puppy dog booties. Other Half's eyebrows crawled to the top of his forehead. I was embarrassed. But then again, perhaps he needs to see things like that. He believes that I horribly spoil Border Collie (I do!) but seeing a dog in baby clothes being carried like an infant sort of puts Border Collie and I in a different light. ('nuff said!)
Anyway, his first trip to a dog show opened his eyes to a whole 'nuther world of dogs. So I dragged him again this year!
I am trying to open his eyes, broaden his horizons! Unfortunately he ran smack into this:
Apparently the poodles were not being shown last year when we were there. Other Half was stupified. Having worked with standard poodles in the past, I know they are smart and delightful creatures with a working dog heritage and tried to explain that to him. He couldn't get past the hair cut.
The world according to Other Half:
Not a Real Dog
Since Other Half is more about Tactical than actual "tact," I kept him away from the poodle people. Thus, I steered him toward Flyball and Agility. He really liked watching the Border Collies in Flyball.
Just take my word for it . . . this is a Border Collie doing Flyball.
He enjoyed the Agility too, (Since this is my favorite I got too caught up in the action to take pictures!)
I had a blast at the Dog Show. It was a trip down Memory Lane, and it made me a bit wistful. On several levels, I miss being in that world. Other Half may as well have been a National Geographic Explorer in that world. I think he enjoyed seeing what people did with their dogs,
but Other Half still has his own ideas about working dogs . . .
I told him that he shouldn't be such a Working Dog Snob. He should lighten up a little! Have FUN with his dogs!
I wonder if they make these in Border Collie size?
Thursday, 22 July 2010
This weekend we were leaving a Gun Show (a whole 'nuther story) when Son announced "Dad, Justin wants your job."
His father works for a large agency with long arms that give him state and federal jurisdiction. Son's friend, Justin, works for the same large police department that I work with and it's ripe with opportunities for young officers, so I said,
"A lot of people want your father's job. Aside from the big paycheck, what is it exactly that he wants?"
"Oh, he wants to travel and do all the special weapons and operations stuff."
"That is precisely the part of your father's job that I DON'T like," I said.
Since I was the only female in the truck, I didn't get any agreement. From a young man's point of view, Other Half has an awesome job - cool toys, the element of danger, state and federal jurisdiction, travel, a great paycheck, and a certain amount of freedom to get yourself into trouble. What's not to love for a testosterone-ridden American Male? From the point of view of the woman at home - death and an empty bed come to mind, but then, those aren't the kind of things that men think about.
While Other Half does come with a certain set of unique skills that make him handy to have around in a war, or if the zombies attack, I rather appreciate his other skills more:
* Always answers his phone or immediately calls back to let me know he's safe!
* Appreciates good horseflesh! Bonus: comes with cowponies! (read: High Noon )
* Knows how to pull a calf out of a cow and knows when to wait (read: Swinging Calves )
* Will drive all the way across Texas in one day to get me the puppy I want (read: On The Eighth Day )
*Can stitch up injured sheep (read: Miss Hardy)
* Can butcher a wild hog (read: Easter Ham )
* Will rescue any animal with a Hard-Luck story (read: Cowdog )
* Knows how to milk a cow and a goat (read: Milking A Goat )
* Can fix farm equipment when it breaks
* Would rather drive REAL horsepower than fast cars! (read: Driving Drafts )
* Doesn't hesitate to come on-duty to bring me a Dr Pepper, a Butterfinger, and a hug if I'm working a really bad scene
* Will spend all day putting up a hotwire fence in the rain, and then not stroke out when I announce that the sheep and LGD will not be allowed in that pasture because the dog was just shocked by the hotwire and freaked out (read: Justice? )
These are just a few of the skills that Other Half possesses which do not include weapons and special tactics. When the zombies come, I'll probably be very happy for those fancy weapons skills, but until then, I can appreciate these skills more. Big guns, cool gear, and Ninja skills don't make a real man. A big paycheck doesn't make a real man. Blood, sweat, tears, hugs and patience, make a real man.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
(sweet Arabian Stallion)
Guess who I found in the paddock with the stallion when I came home from work last night?
(evil Miniature Horse)
Guess who wriggled his fat ass through a goat-size hole in the fence to get into a pasture with a stallion WHILE there is a mare in full-blown heat in the next pasture?
Guess who made a hole in the fence big enough that a FAT MINIATURE HORSE COULD SQUEEZE HIS AMPLE ASS THROUGH IT??
I am very thankful for the sweet nature of a certain ancient Arabian stallion . . .
. . . . who did not eat a certain little fat pony . . .
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Fortunately this morning Briar appears to have recovered from her trauma. We turned the livestock out and took a nice walk in the pasture (with the hotwire OFF!) Since Briar's confidence is more valuable than the goats (5 goats are simply not worth losing a good LGD for!) the hotwire will be off EVERY time Briar is in that paddock. The goats will get training in the paddock when Briar is somewhere else. Briar's primary responsibility is to protect the flock of sheep. The goats may have to fend for themselves.
Had Briar been a criminal, crawling or leaping out of the fence, then I wouldn't have a problem with her getting zapped. But the reality is that she is a 9 month old giant baby who has been doing a splendid job of guarding both the sheep and the property. She was building the confidence to go along with that big bark. Although she was rather melodramatic when shocked, nothing good can be accomplished by telling her to "man-up." If SHE thinks something horrible happened to her, then it did. I'm sure me holding her and crying didn't help either, but I got so upset by her performance that water-works were inevitable. Poor Other Half was left standing there watching me sob as I held a sobbing dog. After working all day in the rain to get that fence up, it was probably a toss-up who he wanted to shoot more - the goats, or me and Briar.
But alas, what is done is done. The dog appears to have recovered and I'll be more careful in the future about her sensitive feelings. Other Half stopped short of calling her a weenie. (It wouldn't have been a wise thing. I was still crying over traumatizing my puppy.) Police dogs should be raised to never lose. They always win. These dogs must have a tremendous amount of self-confidence to do their job. A LGD needs more. Briar is alone with the sheep. She has to have the confidence to take on whatever lurks in the dark and she shouldn't have to be afraid that the fence will bite her. The goats are about to lose their bodyguard. I will not jeopardize the confidence of a dog who can protect an entire flock of sheep for five felon goats!
Monday, 19 July 2010
Sometimes there is just no justice in this world. Want proof?
Goats & Sheep
In order to foil the goats in their near constant attempts to leave our property to sample the exact same foilage on the "other side of the fence," we are adding hotwire to existing fences.
A solar unit was employed for the big pasture and has worked like a charm. I got the bright idea to put hotwire around the front paddock so the sheep and goats can spend their nights outside instead of being locked in their goat prison. So we spent the day laboring in the rain to get a hotwire up. The problem however, was that I was in such a hurry to shock goats that I didn't think about the OTHER victims in the pasture.
One of my favorite ewes tottered up to the fence and I held my breath.
The sheep escaped without as much as a spark, but the real victim was poor Briar who rushed over to bark at some cattle and a few cowbirds. She was zapped. There was much screaming and crying. She ran to me. There was more screaming and crying. (That was me.) I felt horrible. Poor baby Briar . . .Poor Briar who has never climbed that fence . . . Poor Briar who guards the ungrateful goats as well as her beloved sheep. Briar ran out of the pasture and hid in the shed. I was in tears. (I cussed my own stupidity!)
Blue Heeler climbed out of the back yard and climbed into the pasture to help Briar. He peed on the fence. Guess what happened. Poor Blue Heeler . . .
While I was consoling Blue Heeler, Briar continued to hide in the shed. Blue Heeler decided that it was in his best interest to leave the pasture - through the fence. It got him again. While my attention was focused on poor Blue Heeler (who only had Briar's best interest in his heart when he climbed into the pasture to save her), Briar came out of the shed and sat down to scratch her butt - and leaned against the fence. There was more screaming and crying. That was me too. I pulled ALL the dogs out of the pasture and locked them in the back yard. Then we returned to the pasture. This is what we saw . . .
This little bastard (YES! I said it!) walked right up to the fence and touched the insulator with his nose!
"HEY! I think somethin's up over here."
I was in shock! What happened? Two innocent dogs were zapped badly (wet dogs) and the worst culprit walked away scott free! Where is the justice in this world???
Now I must try to convince my Livestock Guardian Dog that it's safe to go back in the pasture. I feel like such an idiot! I feel like such a meanie! Poor poor baby Briar . . .
I couldn't hug her enough. I know. I know. I shouldn't coddle her, but darn it! I couldn't help it. It was so unfair. I felt horrible. Where is the justice in this world?
Saturday, 17 July 2010
Like the little ant in the story of the Ant and the Grasshopper, we must toil each summer to put up enough hay to last us through the winter. The spring rains brought good hay this year. So it was time to gather the troops and the bottle water, and head to the field. (This is why farming families of Old had LOTS of kids!)
The hay pops out!
The boys throw and stack.
The lucky people get to drive the trucks!!!!!
It takes BIG muscles to toss the hay.
Big Big muscles!
Big Big Big BIG MUSCLES!
The Supervisor counts the bales. (well.... not really)
Border Collie counts the bales!
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Cowboy the rescue Border Collie is working out just fine. He has become Other Half's best friend. Even if all he is doing is feeding the cows, I feel more comfortable when Cowboy rides out there with him because:
1) cows are big
2) cows aren't smart
3) anything that big and that stupid can be dangerous
Therefore, I always ask that Other Half either takes Blue Heeler or Cowboy with him when he does anything with the cows.
There is a bull with this group of cows. He is a nice bull but he is, nevertheless, a bull, and I don't trust him.
Cowboy makes sure he is a well-behaved bull.
Cowboy insures all the cows are well-behaved.
He supervises everything from his throne.
So everyone is safe.
And when he's done . . .
Such is the life of a ranch dog.
Saturday, 10 July 2010
The rains have finally stopped and the sun came out again. Yes, I am certain now that we live in The Everglades. There are mosquitoes as big as fighter jets just waiting to descend upon any warm-blooded creature unfortunate enough to find itself stuck outside. Despite my "anti-chemical" campaign, tonight we will break down and fog the barn. I hate to poison every bug in the stable, but the mosquitoes carry diseases and are large enough to carry away a good-sized horse.
Well, maybe not Ona . . . .
But definitely Ruffy!
So this morning after our chores were done and the dogs and I retreated back into the safety of the house, I told them, (because sometimes you have to point these things out to people who eat off the floor)
"Now Guys, we all need to take a moment to say, "Dear Lord, thank you for providing us with a home that has air conditioning."
As the mosquitoes peeked through the windows, the dogs said their prayers. In fact, Alice has been in deep meditation for most of the morning.
Other members of the family are not as fortunate . . . .
"May we come inside the house, please?"
Friday, 09 July 2010
While On Duty, Briar can be a very serious dog.
When she is Off Duty, she is still a giant puppy who enjoys playing with the other dogs. Border Collie is her favorite playmate. (Mostly because she is so big that no one else wants to play with her!) She is quickly outgrowing Border Collie too and because of the size difference, I do not allow them to play by themselves. Lily is 34 pounds. Briar is a LOT bigger than that! Briar has no clue that her rough play could seriously injure her Little Buddy. Lily is aware of the danger, but feels that since she is a Border Collie, then she is Bullet-Proof and Invisible, and no harm can come to her.
Because of this, I supervise their play.
At first the play is fun for both of them.
Briar likes chasing.
Lily likes being chased.
Up to a point . . .
There always comes a time in the play when Lily looks up at me and suddenly stops playing as if she switches On Duty. I'm not sure if she really is On Duty, or if this is the canine equivalent of "I think my Mother is calling me now."
Briar always ignores the fact that Lily has stopped playing.
Perhaps if I bite her tail she would play again.
And here it is . . . The Look.
The Look that says, "Bitch, let go of my tail or I'll tear your ears off your head." Briar never fails to completely miss The Look.
In fact, Briar escalates the problem by hooking a big hairy arm over Lily's back. At this point, I'm sure Lily is well aware that she weighs only 34 pounds. It is time to drop the camera and rescue Lily from her rambunctious playmate, and rescue Briar from herself.
"Good thing Mom stepped in. I mighta had to open up a can of Whoop-Ass!"
Thursday, 08 July 2010
Heavy storms continue to move through the area. The livestock take advantage of the lull between the storms and head out to the pasture again.
Briar supervises as the sheep and goats file out.
Do you think dogs can count?
Roanie looks back for her dog. "Ya comin'?"
Yea, Briar is comin'.
The sheep immediately settle down to the serious business of grazing.
The goats immediately try to climb through the fence.
Everyone looks forward to a break in the rain so chores can be done.
Everyone that is, except Alice The Bloodhound. Alice has better things to do on rainy days . . .
Wednesday, 07 July 2010
The rains continue . . .
The barn has flooded and we're juggling livestock. The goats and sheep are back together again. They are free to roam through the mud and muck when I'm home, but when I leave for work, they go back in lockdown with the Livestock Guardian Dog. The sheep really like their dog. The goats tolerate her now.
When Other Half left for work this morning he turned the stock out and cautioned me, "By 1 o'clock we have 85 % chance of rain. Whatever you want to do outside, get it done before then."
I mumbled something and went back to sleep.
He called at 11 o'clock and informed me that the rain would be here by 12:30 pm. I puttered around the barn and ignored him. There was still plenty of time. (I did this, despite the fact that it was thundering and the sky was turning ominous. I mean, after all, the Weatherman SAID the rain would come at 12:30 pm! That was a least an hour away!!!)
So I feed carrots to the ponies. I played with the horses . . .
I checked out the sheep and goats with Briar.
And then . . . a funny thing happened. . .
. . . it started to rain.
It started to pour!
But WAIT!!! It wasn't 12:30 pm yet! This wasn't fair!
So I call the goats and the sheep. This consists of screaming "Baaaaaaaa!!!!! at the top of my lungs. (There is no telling what my neighbors think of me.) The goats come running. Goats are smarter than sheep. We have already established that fact. In short order, the goats are in their shed, happily munching food that I thoughtfully placed there for them earlier. (I'm not a total idiot!) So I grab a bucket and slosh out in the rain to call the sheep. Mud is squishing over my flip flops and my glasses are fogging. I can barely see the sheep in the back of the pasture under a tree. I pray they don't get hit by lightning. I pray "I" don't get hit by lightning. I call the sheep over the roaring rain. They answer me, but have absolutely NO intention of leaving their tree.
"Don't MAKE ME GET THE BORDER COLLIE!!!" I shout at them. They are unconcerned.
"LILY" I scream through the rain.
A black & white shadow that has been lurking by the fence slithers to the gate. I wipe my glasses with my shirt tail and cuss the sheep. The goats temporarily stop muching to regard me thoughtfully. We exchange a moment, but then it passes. I know. Goats are smarter than sheep. I know.
So I open the gate and Special Agent Lily slithers into the pasture. She has assessed the situation already and was simply waiting to be deployed. She salutes and heads out in the rain.
The sheep are not happy to see her. But a few nips on the heels and they come scampering towards me. Thirty seconds later and she has them in the pen with the goats. It has taken Lily approximately 2 minutes. I'm not sure how long I was standing out in the rain shaking a bucket of feed. But I'm sure that if I'd screamed "Baaaaaa!" any louder, or any longer, my neighbors would have had me committed.
So to all the folks who say, "I don't need a dog, my sheep (or goats) come to a bucket of feed!" I ask you, how long have YOU stood out in the rain trying to coax them back inside?
Tuesday, 06 July 2010
When Other Half came into my life, in addition to cattle, cowponies, police dogs, and a cockatiel named Killer, he also brought two fantastic kids.
A Horse-loving daughter . . .
. . . and a Hunting/Fishing/Firearms-loving son . . .
The kids are very close. That's a good thing. That's a VERY GOOD THING. Because ya see . . . ya see that DAWG that Son is holding in his arms. Meet Drake! Son rescued Drake. Everyone in the family loves Drake. He's a very sweet dog. What's not to love?
But let me paint this picture for you . . .
Daughter and her Husband have a lovely two-story home. Drake and his Master often stay with her. Drake isn't keen on confinement, and so sometimes it becomes necessary to lock Drake in the bathroom when he's alone. Now imagine, if you will, that Drake is locked in the bathroom on the 2nd floor. Also imagine, that Drake climbs in the tub. Stretch your imagination further to picture Drake turning on the hot water . . . full blast.
No one is home. When help does come, Drake has flooded the house. . . the beautiful house with the hardwood floors . . . the hardwood floors that had JUST BEEN INSTALLED.
Drake's adventure tallied up to $17,000 in damage.
Yes, Drake is still alive. Yes, the kids still love each other and laugh about Drake's adventure. Thank God for close families. Thank God for insurance.
Saturday, 03 July 2010
The hurricane missed us, but we still got 13 inches of rain in two days. The roads were flooded. I had to drive my Monster Truck to work last night.
From time to time I have complained about how tall Monster Truck is, and how it is difficult to manuever in tight spaces. Well, shut ma mouth! Last night I learned exactly what that sucker was made to do! It not only got me TO work yesterday, but it got me BACK HOME last night when other vehicles were stalled beside the roadway. While most folks may not need such a Monster in the driveway, if you are considered "Essential Personnel" by your employer, it is nice to have a vehicle that will climb tall buildings (or at least curbs) to get you where you need to go. So I will stop complaining about how big Monster is now.
But . . . singing the praises of Monster Truck was not the point of this blog. The POINT is that we got 13 inches of rain in 2 days. Good grief! I came home last night to find that my 5 stall barn had flooded. The concrete aisle was still wet from where the river of water rushed through the barn, into the stalls, and out the back doors. Unfortunately it left 4 of the 5 stalls under water. EEGaadssss! (Actually, that's not what I said. At 2 AM I used OTHER words, but this is a family-friendly program, so I won't print those.)
Add to that problem the fact that since I had combined some livestock before I left yesterday, I put Briar (gigantic Livestock Guardian Dog Puppy) in the back yard since I didn't want her hurt by a horse. (and I forgot her)
That was my first mistake.
I returned home last night to find that Briar has FINALLY figured out how to use the doggy door. That is a BAD THING! Briar found herself IN the house, but couldn't figure out how to go back outside. Thus, there was a large pile of dog poop on my bedroom floor . . . and pawprints tracking the poo down the hallway. She was very happy to see me. It was 2 AM. I was not amused. I was not nearly as happy to see her.
So I threw everyone outside with what was surely every frog in southern Texas. My back yard was a lake. The pond was no longer visible underneath all the water. My back yard had become the Florida Everglades. I am certain there were alligators lurking out there.
Still in my uniform, I pulled on rubber boots and sloshed to the barn. It was bad. It was really bad. No sheep or goats had drowned though. They had all managed to find high ground. The horses were standing in water. Since it was up to Ruffy's knees, I turned the ponies into the back yard and cautioned them not to fall in the pond. They would graze up by the house and be fine.
The stallion was moved in with the goats. Poor Ona and Montoya were left to find the highest ground possible until the sun came up and I could assess the situation a little better. As I left for bed, while Ona stood on a patch of high ground, poor Montoya insisted on standing in the water by the fence, waiting for me to save him. If I could have bundled him up and brought him into the house, I would have.
When the sun came up, the ponies were happily sloshing around the back yard. Montoya and Ona had found drier ground. Border Collie moved the sheep into higher ground, with the goats. The goats are wretched roommates, but in weather like this, beggars can't be choosy.
It's raining again. They are calling for rain until Monday. The good news is that since the barn has already flooded, that's one less thing I have to worry about. This is just the first hurricane of the season. Oh my . . . it promises to be a looong summer.
Thursday, 01 July 2010
I took the day off of work. I was reaching mental breakdown status and so it was in the best interest of everyone around me if Princess took a day off.
Last night I informed my co-workers that:
A) My dog died.
The sergeant signed my request for time off. (You see! If you just explain things to people . . .)
So I last night I informed Other Half that today I would be going to get a 1 hour massage. He grunted. It is definitely in HIS best interest if Princess gets a massage and goes to her Happy Place. (Worse case scenario has him in the direct line of fire, and at best case scenario, he could still become collateral damage.)
So with the rain coming down harder than a cow pissin' on a flat rock, I threw my hair under a Stetson, slipped on my brightest pink raincoat, climbed in my Big Ass Monster Truck, and headed for The Spa! It was a trek, and by the time I arrived, water was lapping out of the ditches beside the roadway. (I didn't care. I had a Monster Truck! Princess was GETTING a massage today! Damn it!) I was surprised to see the parking lot full. Could it be that other women were having the same crappy week as MOI? My heart went out to them, until I realized that I might not find a place to park. Suddenly The Evil Queen Behind The Mirror advised me in her sickly sweet voice that I could just roll on top of that BMW with my Monster Truck. Hey! She was right! I could!
Fortunately, God was with me and provided me with a parking space big enough for my Monster Truck and the blond lady's BMW. All was well with my world. I got soaked getting out of the truck, but Princess had a 1 hour massage coming and come hell or high water, she was getting it!
This spa is an old wooden house on the edge of a creek. It's been converted to a spa for Yuppies and Homicidal Forensic Farm Girls. I opened the door and just stood there for a moment. The incense welcomed me in. Incense, not dog puke, not dog poop, not dog pee, not even a hairball the cat choked up, but the smell of actual insense greeted my nose. I was almost giddy.
A young man, who was barely 12 years old, greeted me. Yes, I had an appointment. Yes, I've been here before. Yes, I'd be happy to wait. While I waited I poked around their gift shop. Girly things that I rarely indulge myself in called to me from every corner! Pink things! Purple things! Leopard-printed things! SPARKLY things! Bling! Bling! I glanced at a few price tags and noted that there was plenty of "Cha Ching! Cha Ching!" associated with the "Bling! Bling!" I have animals to feed. I couldn't afford to buy frivolous girl toys. So I sat down and read a magazine. Without the hat, my hair fell into my eyes. I needed a haircut. (Just one more chore that keeps getting shoved behind all the other things vying for my attention.) My eyes darted to the hair salon in the front room. It smelled expensive.
I did the math. Then I worked out the logistics. I could wait and see my Beautician back home (who only charges half of what this salon charges), OR, I could go ahead and pay more to get the hair cut because I don't know WHEN I'll actually get around to going to the other guy. I looked like a sheep dog. I peeked through my bangs and decided to bite the bullet and get my hair cut.
Rain was coming down in sheets outside. Patrons and staff wondered aloud if they would be able to drive home through the high water. (I didn't worry. I had my Monster Truck. I wouldn't even mind driving them home . . . after my massage.) I was already going to my Happy Place. I flipped through a magazine. Yoga, whole foods, esential oils, organic gardening! Oh yeah! Princess was headed to the Happy Place. (For a moment the Evil Queen in the Mirror popped her head out to ask why the people in the organic gardening articles always look so happy and clean. They're never smeared with goat poop and sheep shit in organic gardening articles. Why is that?)
I pondered it for a minute. Happily, before I could write the magazine and ask them, my Blond Woman With Magic Fingers showed up and escorted me to her room. I love these rooms - dim lights and New Age music just melts me. An hour later I oozed out of that room. She stuffed a cup of water in my hand and with a lazy grin on my face, I shuffled toward the hair salon. Yeeesssss . . . Princess was happy.
With my hair still fluffed from Blond Woman With Magic Fingers, I asked the receptionist if I could get a haircut. I could. So I oozed on into the hair salon - where I was met by a pixie with purple strands in her hair. Hmmmm . . . good thing I didn't meet the Purple Pixie before my massage. As it was, I positively oozed happiness and good will. I was willing to trust my sheep dog mop to Purple Pixie or anyone else with a pair of scissors. So I slid into the chair and waited for her to work her Pixie Magic.
The problem was, Pixies aren't mind readers. My Old Beautician, a delightful gay man in his 60s doesn't really care what I want. He cuts my hair the same way he has for last 20 years. There is very little discussion about it. I sit down. He cuts. Sometimes he colors. Same cut. Same color. IF . . . I actually inform him that I want something different, something DRAMATIC, he will inform me that he will NOT do that because I will hate it in two days. He is temperamental, but he's always right.
So I sat in the chair and observed the confused Pixie in the mirror. What did I want? Neither of us was sure. I looked past her purple hair and saw a child. I have scissors older than this child. For a fleeting moment I wondered if the Purple Pixie really knew much about cutting hair. She was certainly a contrast to my 60 something year old gay guy. We chatted while she tentatively snipped away. I watched in the mirror, confident that if she botched it too badly, my beautician would fix it after he got over his snit. I looked at all the gray in the mirror. It was probably time to color my hair again. That was NOT something I was willing to trust with the pixie. But then again, there was a LOT of gray. Perhaps, perhaps, just maybe there was enough gray . . . so I said,
"You know, I may just quit coloring it and let it go gray."
And she said, "Oh yeah, with this much gray, there's really no use in even trying to cover it."